When Barbara McClintock packed up her Ford - and her research - in 1931 and set off on a journey across the US, I wonder what went through her mind. At this point she had been doing groundbreaking research for years but faculty at Cornell University wouldn't give permanent positions to women. Was she frustrated or excited?
Did she even worry about the future?
She spent the next decade on short-term contracts in several universities, relentlessly pursuing her science. Finally she was given a permanent position at Cold Springs Harbour where she could run her own lab with the freedom she required. While few of us should aspire to work like McClintock (in her eighties she reduced to 8 hour work days), we should be inspired by her unapologetic curiosity.
Academia can be littered with uncertainty, competition and hopelessly lacking in funding. Yet scientists strive like McClintock to learn: new knowledge, new methods, new ways of working. Always accumulating knowledge, being flexible and adapting to a changing environment.
If nothing else, being a scientist is a continuous exercise in handling uncertainty and complexity.
At HUNT Cloud we’re daily faced with scientists' curiosity, creativity and ambition of creating new knowledge. It is not only inspiring, we’re humbled to work alongside you and eager to be a part of your journey.
Science will always be difficult; as if climbing a huge mountain with a heavy backpack and difficult-to-read map. Sometimes you might want us to carry your backpack only to find us suggesting something completely different. Why not try another backpack? take this route instead? or what about carrying some extra weight? maybe ditch the map and try this GPS device?
While we’re always rooting for you and doing our best to help, our mission is not to carry your backpack (or you). Our mission is to make sure that you have what you need to follow your curiosity, to be ambitious and unleash your creativity. We will do our best to point you to the safest route and give you the tools you need on your way.
And we’ll be in the uncertainty and complexity with you, working our butts off to foresee what lies ahead - and be ready when everything changes again.
* Barbara McClintock did important work in genetics including the discovery of mobile genetics elements, for which she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1983. Learn more about Barbara McClintock.
The amount of available sensitive data has grown exponentially in the last decades. Health data has never been as easy to access for scientists as it is now. There are definitely hurdles to go through, both practical, technical and legislative, as it should be. Yet, sometimes it seems as if data is flowing endlessly - sometimes pouring in as a flood - and we struggle to keep up.
How can we best store data?
What about sharing and collaboration?
Not to mention manage - how do you strategically manage research data?
Has it occured to you that most of us have a consumer mindset of data?
We tend to believe that we have endless amounts of it. That as long as we gather all the data and researchers can access it (relatively) easily, we’ll automatically gain new knowledge and create value.
Have you paused to see science from the data’s point of view?
Data is not only collected, it is donated - or lent out - from people. Sometimes before birth, throughout their entire lives and even after their deaths; their data is donated for the common good. For this to work, we must deserve the trust placed in us by the data donor. If we are not trustworthy, the data will cease to flow.
Trust is science’s most valuable asset.
Now more than ever, science requires not only good data management, but trust management. Trust covers much more than privacy concerns and compliance to laws or legislations. The data donors trust that their data will be used for the common good. Having access to data is far from enough to achieve this. We must be able to mobilize the data, to send it on a journey from donation to new knowledge.
The donors trust us to take their data on a journey through data preparation, visualization, storage and analysis - to new places and countries, meeting new collaborators and hopefully returning to society as new knowledge or innovation projects.
Data journeys are demanding!
They require ideas, funding, methods, technology, collaboration, invention of new methods, ways of working and even completely new fields of science. Finally, the data must return safely and the value created along the way must be returned to society. Even for the simplest project, this is no small achievement. And the foundation for any data journey is trust.
Trust management is what makes data driven science sustainable.
Scientists decide what data gets to travel and where it goes, while society gets a say through funding schemes. Together we can ensure equality by sending diverse data from many sources on new journeys.
Long after the data donor is gone, years after the scientist who had the idea has passed away, the data might still travel. For a while we have journeyed together and done our best to care for both data and donors. Eventually, the data goes on without us. We can ensure long-term sustainable science only if future journeys can take place within trustworthy frames.